tv [untitled] October 10, 2011 4:31pm-5:00pm EDT
an energy company that's unfolding right now in the rocky mountains of the u.s. . forty acres and one thousand nine hundred three and decided it would be a great place to find my bel the home and retire. i am fifty generation my great great grandfather homesteaded here. let's go let's go the gates was killed. a mile. long border. we have three hundred head of al it come down on the high country current of libya
. i'm a fourth generation rancher when i was little dad would let me have two cows out of the herd so i could heard. my favorite things is the red winged blackbirds that use the honey honey the red winged blackbirds are back you know. this has been my favorite place i've ever lived in my life say representatives on your. plane every regulatory senate house the legislation today directing president bush's witnesses represent the oil companies that create order thirty six billion dollars or twenty dollars a barrel. there she is. we call it our new neighbor neighbor.
we are. the state situation where we on the surface and someone else on some mineral rights and what happens in colorado and i think in most western states is the mineral rights. are dominant. law and mineral extraction goes back hundreds of years that says the mineral owner has a right to extract that mineral and to a certain extent can extract it impact the surface without compensation. seventy acres here and i can't convince them that they need to drill some more sides two hundred feet from our. policy has been to drill drill drill drill some more era very strong industry
they've got a tremendous amount of political influence and an awful lot of money. as a civil servant i spoke out. but it's difficult to do so because you feel constant you're risking your job and your family's future. if you say as i sat there and looked out my window into my backyard all i could think was there is no way i can stay out of it's i'm sitting here with all of the right resources these people need help this is before any problems people will be doing right. and they're motivated by profits and unfortunately are motivated by short term
profits they don't take that view. you come out here and you come out here and live in my house for a week. i have no rights. the rocky mountains are seeing an unprecedented boom in oil and gas drilling montana wyoming colorado new mexico utah the boom is happening all over the country there is oil and gas operations in thirty two states right now but the rocky mountain states are really seeing the vast majority of the expansion. and it's overflowing into communities where people are seeing this right in their backyards
. oh sure you were they wanted to put this location one of the first places that they wanted to put it surprise you and say we have three well out there you don't have anything in. a split estate situation is when somebody who owns the surface of their land does not own the resources that are underneath their land for example oil and gas or other minerals a private person could own a house with land and the federal government or another private individual might on the resources under it the person who owns the oil and gas has rights to access that oil and gas which means that whoever owns the surface probably can't control what happens on their own property. in the middle mile fell for field believe this the state represent. it
would be about two hundred feet from our house which is all foreclosures because we say we don't want the smell and they say well i'd rather smell like. life and i said you're crazy if you can't get sick from some allies you feel so helpless you know. the splitter state is a concept that dates back to when the english king reserved his rights to gold and silver deposits despite who owned the land as america was homesteaded the government continue the tradition of this kind of separate ownership. for one minute that anything is off one hundred fifty feet away from your house one and a half times the length of there so if it falls over. we see the look on people's faces and they get that look and i say only a minute there can't be right that's not fair that can't be what it is that's the way it is this is an active drilling rig near
a small house showing just how close the two can be and how large the path is during drilling a site can cover several acres before it is reduced to a smaller pad for the producing well. today with cries for more domestic oil and gas production energy companies have been aggressively leasing mineral rights so they can drill beneath both private and public lands all over the rocky mountain west this industry has been expanding dramatically tens of thousands of new wells across the region in colorado we've had about thirty thousand wells and we expect another thirty thousand in the next five or six years for decades the oil and gas industry has lobbied to create a regulatory climate which is pave the way for the current drilling. back in two thousand after the bush cheney election and there was a dramatic acceleration in drilling activity both had received large contributions
from oil and gas interests and the vice president had been the chief executive of. a major player in the drilling industry. in the growing economy also means expanding our domestic production of oil and natural gas which are by. transportation electricity and manufacturing. alternative. energy. transportation needs. the bush cheney energy policy. of developing nations approach to energy. and so their. trade policy where we need a twenty first century policy of the bush administration.
they aren't sympathetic they're making very serious mistakes because they've talked to themselves and the energy companies and only the energy companies we don't know what other provisions may have special interest provisions that. when you're writing one of these bills in secret in two thousand and five the administration's energy bill passed with support from members of both political parties it provided the gas and oil industry. of dollars in subsidies tax breaks and research sixty five percent of the current go to gas and oil and you have this imbalance we ought to have sixty five percent or more eighty percent ought to be going to alternative renewable technology to energy efficiency the energy bill makes practical reforms to the oil and gas permitting process to encourage new exploration after years of debate and division. congress passed
a good bill. the . it all began here for us twenty five years ago when my husband moved here then i moved here eighteen years ago. arlen and i were married in nineteen eighty eight i was a pharmaceutical chemist for many years. my husband is a civil engineer with a specialty in water and he is retired a few years ago we ran into some real problems with the oil and gas industry because they have begun drilling here in canada and gas contacted us in the early spring of two thousand and four with the proposal that they would put wells on our land and we began negotiating
a surface use agreement with them and we negotiated for nine months and the bulldozer showed up one day and began ripping and tearing before we had signed a surface use agreement. regulations require that oil and gas companies consult with landowners before drilling if the landowner doesn't agree to the terms the company proposes it can post a bond with the state go on to the land and drill anyway that's what happened to the bells. when we first just. asked the seller about the mineral rights and he said he didn't have even to sell eighty five percent of landowners in colorado do not own the rights to the minerals under their land until you get on the federal property i think it is private interests it's all through here once you're out of the forest and of course if the government garfield county located high in the colorado rockies was always
a quiet rural area for its residents. but in the nine hundred ninety s. things started to change. gas and oil drilling began to boom and development has expanded dramatically each year when i first came to colorado twenty seven years ago the energy production was for oil and at the time that there was the synthetic fuels corporation. and it was all about oil shale natural gas they didn't have pipelines for and so they were trying to figure out what to do with all the natural gas there was a lot but there was no use for it at the time now natural gas is the biggest thing that's going on in lester in colorado. there's no in canada leases in here and crossroads bilberry corp and over there on ten acre spacing for me are really what you're looking for and you knew how many wells were imperative you could see three four hundred wells. you're standing right over
a pipeline right here by the way. right where which fan and we had a spill. you see over my head here we've got the neighbors wells three forum over there and that stack closest to the blue one day it looked like old faithful had crossed over there the separator spewed paraffin out all over the pad and on over into good a number of acres of our parish church and that paraffin was laced with the tax chemicals hydrocarbons of various kinds we were concerned it would contaminate and did. in the grasses were heavy and dry and whatnot so we just burned it did chin writing carbons along with it so we wouldn't get it it's water.
comes the full stop or it's about ten thousand wells here in the basin which is. an incredible number of wells to try and manage on a daily basis and so it as a simple example and we do well reviews and look at what our wells should be delivering if we spend five minutes per well. it takes about nine months to go through that process everything below us down here is our men to canyon. if you get up on the big hair is makes the benches those bankers are just littered with wells approximately five hundred all total. and now with the new wells basin that they have proved will go from about five hundred to
a. hundred within the next twenty years we drill that averages about three hundred fifty new wells per year when you take colorado side and include that we think that conoco phillips has probably another ten thousand wells there where you will drill in the basin over the next forty years. to sharply increase drilling on gilbert our mentors ranch is typical of what has happened to vast expanses of northern new mexico land. a satellite image shows the crisscrossing patterns of access roads and wells extending for hundreds of miles across some one county and north west new mexico. the land surface has been so bad that i can't recognize it from the first time i saw it.
the ranch lands of san juan county aren't the only areas inundated by drilling rigs . in the towns near gilbert are meant as land there are wells everywhere in neighborhoods and near schools. gas industry has been here for fifty plus years and we do drill in populated areas you can go out here. a couple hundred yards from this office and find a producing well conoco phillips is the largest producer in the san juan basin and when you look at the total between our workforce directly and indirectly the people working for us it's about eight person the local population so we're a very large employer in the basin. industry has brought jobs and money to the. but for gilbert our men the price is much too high. this gate will be the gate to enter into my property the old company had me completely locked out for two and a half years the only way they would give me
a key. is if i agreed to keep the gate locked at all times. in history has the mentality that. it's all losers and don't belong to nobody else . and that's what they tell us when they come out to drill here on our land it's. your in our way. we distinct a good neighbor program is something that was somewhat elementary and it's just respect because if you don't two things will happen first is the government will regulate and a lot of times regulate out of business and second is new mexico becomes an unfriendly business environment and oil and gas industries go elsewhere i don't think the state wants the oil and gas industry doesn't want that we have a very large emphasis with our three hundred twenty five member companies about
being a good neighbor about talking to people about doing the things. that you would do in your neighborhood with your next door neighbor. in the us in the lower forty eight on shore the boom that is currently going on has driven a lot by technology or been a lot of technological advances with horizontal drilling with fracture stimulation one of the key elements to finding and getting the resource out of very tight sand or hard rock is a fracking process fracking is just a short word for fracturing hydraulic fracturing or fracking as it's commonly called is a drilling technique first commercialised by how the burden in one nine hundred forty nine comes in with very high powered water and sand and a slightly soapy mixture and all it does is it goes down and it just fractures little tiny fractures in the rock and then sand goes into those fractures and
allows that gas to escape. and then the gas flows in to the pipe up to the surface in the people's homes. hydraulic fracturing is largely responsible for the domestic drilling boom because of its high cost it was not widely used until recently in the one nine hundred ninety s. when the price of natural gas shot up high enough to make it affordable this is here in the reserve pits here don't just feel colborne is one of the world's leading authorities on endor korean disrupting chemicals in the environment and their impact on humans here the trucks are coming all the way which is thirty miles to here she has been studying the chemicals used by the industry for drilling in extraction and documenting their effects basically our first list of the chemicals that were being used was this very very short and an interesting list that e.p.a.
put together it certainly was uncovered heads that we knew found out very rapidly that it was no small. list they don't tell you everything that's in a product you may only get five percent of what's in that product and the rest of it is for private terry or they just don't get it they don't have to. gas deposits below ground contain toxic compounds that are brought to the surface during drilling these compounds pollute the environment and can cause health problems but the impacts of drilling are made even worse by the chemical products that are injected during the process dr colborne has documented over two hundred products used in colorado drilling over ninety percent contained chemicals with adverse health effects. there is not only prove that there is anything harmful in the fracking fluids that are used to fracture the wells in our floors
are not toxic and we did a lot of that there's a lot of mis understanding of what is actually in these fluids have fracking fluid taken right out of the tracking truck in my own i've had it in my mouth it tasted it and i'm just saying for people who are telling you that these products are safe first and ask them what they have been trained did to find out who's paying their salary and third actually hand them a real glass full of something that you have taken from evaporation and ask them to drink it. i think it's just part of people understand that we live here and love it also so i would be messin around and just. do you and harold hofmeister live across the road from the belle farm surrounded by
an ever increasing number of natural gas wells where and bad actually sleeping and . we heard this pop and then our son called he said that the well is on fire and my husband went to try to go outside and it was too hot on the deck so he couldn't remove their employees are all and then the fire trucks came but they waited way down because there was nothing they could do a polaroid from. the. so i think they were there basically for our homes and if they caught fire or something you know one of our structures. industrial accidents and spills are common in these communities between two thousand and three and two thousand and eight it is estimated that there were one thousand four hundred and thirty five spills in colorado. nearly a quarter of these spills are believed to have contaminated either ground or
surface water in the state eight every time. we see this when you see it and it's a good thing you know. a little farther down dry hollow road is the divide creek. that's where lisa brock and her family live. this is back was first discovered. who got a call one day april first from a neighbor steve thompson and said you know i found some stuff down here on my place it doesn't look right there. come look at it and he said this is not normal the all involved over the water up there bob flies little first john but. that's all there after all. is in our properties there was a the evidence of bubbling in the creek we didn't know what it was it looked like a pepsi can there was just an eruption of bubbles fizzing all over the place in the
reeds in the water in an effort to convince authorities that the bubbling was not occurring naturally lisa and her family demonstrated that the gas would ignite. by. water samples taken from the ground water in the divide creeks e bay area showed levels of the carcinogen benzene forty eight times government standards gas was released into the creek for fifty five days before the well believed to have caused the seep was resealed after they were mediated the well evidence of the sea largely disappeared here it went away and pepys place on langer's it diminished significantly and there's still some evidence of it there but it's the only lingering presence. to this day gas continues to bubble up the
main exit point on pepe langer's land. so what they're trying to do is everything that comes. here if there's benzene to live in and nobody knows how long it's going to or even ever. really you know everything is going to be cleared up. according to a statement provided by the income a corporation nothing that and comma did was out of compliance with the regulations in place at that time extensive monitoring following the incident indicate. yes there was no contamination of residential water sources as a result of the seat an air convection system is in place to remove benzene from the groundwater in the plume area spills and groundwater contamination can occur anywhere there is drilling industry representatives often try to downplay their environmental impact this is colorado matters colorado it's with near oil and gas
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